The Minnesota Timberwolves are said to be aiming high in trade talks surrounding All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, even asking the Philadelphia 76ers for guard Ben Simmons in return, according to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.
"One of the things that I've heard from a handful of sources is that -- with the Sixers for example -- the initial offer that they made, the counter-offer was like, 'We need Ben Simmons in a deal,'" O'Connor said on The Bill Simmons Podcast.
The Timberwolves are seeking “quality veterans, top prospects, future assets and salary-cap relief” in return for Butler, ESPN reported.
Meanwhile, Butler has reportedly informed the Timberwolves that the Miami Heat are his preferred destination --though league sources told Amico Hoops that the Timberwolves are not taking Butler's wishes into account.
As for talks with the Sixers specifically, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported the following: "I’m told Philly is currently completely out of the JB situation and has never had any traction after preliminary discussions."
Along with the Heat and Sixers, the Timberwolves have reportedly talked trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards and Dallas Mavericks.
“Along with Butler, Miami had been willing to accept Gorgui Dieng and the remaining $48 million left on his contract under the right circumstances,” ESPN reported.
AmicoHoops sources confirmed the reported talks between the Timberwolves and Cavs.
“So far, there’s been no team close to willing to meet Thibodeau’s massive return for a Butler deal,” ESPN reported. “Butler can become a free agent in July, and teams recognize that he’s already asked for a trade from Minnesota and a coach he has enjoyed a long, prosperous and close relationship with — and Butler could be a risk to leave them in summer free agency.”